K Chandrasekhar Rao meets M Karunanidhi, MK Stalin in Chennai amid efforts to stitch non-BJP, non-Congress coalition

Chennai: Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, on a mission to form a non-BJP non-Congress alternative, on Sunday met DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi and its working president MK Stalin in Chennai.

Rao, who held discussions with Stalin on a wide range of issues, including more autonomy to states, described the meeting as "very delightful".

K Chandrasekhar Rao meets M Karunanidhi, MK Stalin in Chennai amid efforts to stitch non-BJP, non-Congress coalition

File image of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. Twitter@TelanganaCMO

He said his ongoing effort was not aimed at some kind of a 'third front'.It was not a mere alignment of political parties but "that of the people" of the country, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi supremo told reporters in a joint press meet with Stalin.

Rao parried a question on whether he was projecting West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, whom he had recently met, as the prime ministerial candidate in the 2019 elections.

The efforts were aimed at the country's betterment, better economy and better opportunities for the youth, he said.

"We have not proposed any third, fourth or fifth front, this so-called front is created by media. We have never announced a third front...it is not a mere alignment of political parties but an alignment of people of India, the masses and unemployed youth of India," he said.

Earlier, Rao met Karunanidhi at the latter's Gopalapuram residence where he was received by Stalin.

Praising 93-year old Karunanidhi as "one of the tallest leaders" of the country, he recalled their association in UPA I.

He expressed joy that Karunanidhi, since confined indoors due to health reasons, responded to his 'Vanakkam,' the traditional Tamil salutation.

The Telangana chief minister has recently met Banerjee and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda as part of his move to form an alternative.

A resolution at the TRS plenary on 27 April had authorised Rao to take appropriate decisions on forming the alternative to BJP and Congress.

Stalin, son of Karunanidhi and leader of the Opposition in Tamil Nadu Assembly, hosted a lunch for Rao at his residence where the two had a lengthy discussion on issues, including federalism and devolution of funds to states.

Rao said the meeting was "very delightful...We discussed so many things. Things which have been happening for the last seven decades in the country."

Both Rao and Stalin said they discussed issues such as the centre-state relations, powers to be given to the states, more devolution of funds and more autonomy to states.

They also said more rounds of discussions would be held.

Rao said this was neither the beginning nor the end and no decision had been taken. "...Across the nation there is a debate that there is a need for a qualitative change in governance of India, politics of India," he added.

"So we have been discussing with so many leaders across the nation...Both of us (himself and Stalin) had a telephonic talk with Mamata Banerjee also and we will be talking to so many leaders across the country," he said.

This effort will take about two to three months for a consensus to be achieved, Rao said adding he and Stalin shared the view that India should be a secular country.

"The centralisation...dictatorial trends" of successive governments seen in the last seven decades should go, he said.

When asked if the Centre 'ignored' southern states, Rao shot back saying, "where is the doubt about it" and vowed to ensure justice for people.

The TRS chief said he invited Stalin to be the chief guest for the launch of a Telangana government scheme next month.

On whether he would reach out to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, he said "why not", adding he considered him as "best friend".

Stalin said the discussions centred around the prevailing political situation but added any announcement on a possible alliance would come only during elections.

"Issues like more powers for states, strengthening federalism, bringing education to state list, more devolution of funds to states and the authoritarian attitude of Central government were discussed. A healthy discussion happened today," he said.

Rao was accompanied by his senior party colleagues including K Keshava Rao, MP, while former DMK ministers TR Baalu and A Raja were present during the meeting.

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Updated Date: Apr 29, 2018 19:35:46 IST

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